Eva Knowles Johnson (born 1946) is an Aboriginal Australian poet, actor, director and playwright.
Eva Knowles Johnson belongs to the Malak Malak people and was born in 1946 at Daly River in the Northern Territory. At the age of two, Johnson was taken from her mother and placed on a Methodist Mission on Croker Island and at the age of 10 was transferred to an orphanage in Adelaide.
Johnson worked as an enrolled nurse and studied community development at the South Australian Institute of Technology and a degree in Aboriginal studies at the University of Adelaide.
Eva Johnson has worked as a poet, actor, director, playwright and teacher. She began writing in 1979. Her first poem became the title of the first play ever produced by Black Theatre in Adelaide, When I Die You'll All Stop Laughing.
Johnson contributed to the representation of Aboriginal women on the stage. Johnson's writing addresses themes of cultural identity, Aboriginal Australian women's rights, the stolen generation, land rights, slavery, sexism and homophobia. Johnson played the part of Alice Wilson (credited as Eva Birrit) in the fourth segment of the 1981 award winning series Women of the Sun.
In 1984 Johnson directed the first Aboriginal Women's Art Festival in Adelaide and wrote a play for the festival entitled Tjindarella. The play examined the oppression of Aboriginal Australians and highlighted the effects of government policy on the forced removal of children from their parents and culture. Tjindarella was also performed at the Adelaide Fringe Festival in 1984. Johnson was writer/director of the First National Black Playwrights' Conference in Canberra, 1987, from which the Aboriginal National Theatre Trust was developed.
In 1989 Johnson's play Mimini's Voices was produced by the Magpie Theatre Company in Adelaide and later restaged in 1990 as part of the Hiroshima Arts festival in Japan where it won the Festival Peace Prize awarded by the Lord Mayor of Hiroshima.
Eva continued to write plays into the 1990s, with titles including Heart Beat of the Earth, Two Bob in the Quid, What Do They Call Me and Mimini's Voices. She has received a number of awards for her work. Eva is still living in Adelaide today and continues her work as a guest speaker at various educational institutions.
- In 1985 Eva Johnson was awarded the Aboriginal Artist of the Year Award.
- In 1993 she received the inaugural Red Ochre Award from the Australia Council for the Arts.
- A letter to my mother
- When I Die You'll All Stop Laughing
- Faded Genes
- Mimini's Voices
- Onward To Glory
- What do they call me
- Heartbeat of the Earth
- Johnson, Eva (1985), A letter to my mother [poem], retrieved 5 August 2014
- Mimini's Voices, Odeon Theatre, Norwood, SA, 12 September 1989 [Event description], 1989, retrieved 6 August 2014
- Johnson, Eva (1989), Murras, retrieved 5 August 2014
- Tjindarella, by Eva Johnson : [theatre program], 1985, Space Theatre, 1985, retrieved 5 August 2014
- Johnson, Eva (1991), What do they call me, retrieved 5 August 2014